Andre Johnson Feeling Right At Home In Colts Culture

INDIANAPOLIS – Andre Johnsonicon-article-link heard the fan and he had to crack a smile.

“Welcome to a winning team, Andre” shouted an onlooker in Anderson, prior to the Colts first Training Camp practice of 2015.

Acquainting yourself in a new culture, after 12 seasons being the face of another franchise, especially that team’s division rival, is no simple task.

Training Camp in Anderson was the first time Johnson had ever gone “away” for camp in his NFL career.

The added uncertainty of seeing a new fan base day-in-and-day-out for Johnson was eased early on.

“When the fan said that, I just turned around and started laughing. All the fans kind of started laughing,” Johnson says with a smile.

“After practice, (I signed) autographs for fans a few times (and) they’ve been very welcoming. A lot of them are telling me they are glad that I’m here and they don’t have to go against me. That makes you appreciate it, makes you feel at home. I’m just excited about this opportunity.”

With a weapon like Johnson, the Colts are giving him several opportunities to showcase his unique range.

Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton is moving Johnson all around the Colts offense, lining the seven-time Pro Bowler up both outside and in the slot, more frequently than he did in Houston.

Hamilton could pop in the film and see what the Colts were getting in Johnson from a pure football standpoint. The Colts offensive coordinator is also seeing the side of Johnson inside the classroom.

“One of the things that’s allowed Andre to be such a good pro for so long is his ability to focus and pay attention to the details,” Hamilton says.

“He approached joining our team as if he was a rookie. He took copious notes and he was always focused and engaged in meetings. He’s constantly asking questions and he’s working overtime to build a relationship with Andrew Luckicon-article-link and the rest of our guys.”

While Johnson has put up rare numbers in his dozen NFL seasons, the way he goes about his business is a bit unusual, too.

Unlike the “diva” stereotype that can often follow elite wide receivers, Johnson is quiet in nature…until he hits the field.

“Everybody always asks me about that. They say you are so laid back but when you are on the field, you are a different person. That’s just the way I’ve always been,” Johnson says.

“That’s how I was growing up. My mom, my little brother, we are all the same, just a quiet house. We are all competitive (though). Whenever those competitive juices get going, we kind of get revved up a little bit. That’s the way we approach things.”

Chuck Pagano has known Johnson for over a decade and a half. The Colts head coach remembers a high school aged Johnson barely saying a word when Pagano and the Miami football staff were pursuing the blue-chip recruit.

That demeanor hasn’t changed much, which should be a sign of caution for anyone having to face Johnson.

“There are a lot of quiet guys that are in the Hall of Fame,” Pagano says. “There are some guys that like to talk a lot in there and then there are probably some guys in there that didn’t say a whole lot and just went out and did their job and did it very well.

“(Johnson’s) one of those guys that, he’s so quiet, you never mess with. You don’t mess with that guy. He doesn’t say a whole lot, but what he does on the football field and how he attacks his profession, his work ethic and all those types of things, the plays that he can make, it speaks for itself.”

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